Header Image Mobile Header Image


04/27/2018 | Restoring a Fair Workweek

Fair Workweek Initiative Demands Employees Receive Severance Pay After Bankrupt Toys R Us Pays Millions in Executive Bonuses

Wall Street is taking over America’s biggest employers and bankrupting them – destroying jobs and hurting local economies. When Toys R Us recently announced it would close all of its US stores and lay off 30,000 workers, CPD’s Fair Workweek Initiative (FWI) and CPD affiliate Organization United for Respect (OUR) jumped into action. OUR is supporting thousands of Toys R Us workers across the country whose families are in crisis facing these layoffs. We are calling for severance pay and calling on members of Congress to prevent this happening to other hard-working people in retail.

More than 27,000 supporters have already signed petitions to get severance from Toys R Us’ private equity owners – KKR and Bain Capital who raked in hundreds of millions while workers are left empty-handed. Together with progressive elected leaders, we are working with our network and other advocacy organizations, including Make the Road NJ, Good Jobs Now MI, Hedge Clippers, and Strong Economy for All Coalition, on a number of strategic actions to lift up workers’ voices and to call for justice for workers hurt by Wall Street greed. Since Toys R Us announced its closure, stories from OUR worker leaders have made headlines in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Reuters.

We are also working with partners and allies around the country to escalate the public debate over unregulated Wall Street speculation and its role fueling economic instability in our communities. Standing with Toys R Us workers, we are promoting a bold policy and regulatory agenda that holds Wall Street accountable for itsexplosive profits at the expense of workers. It’s not good for our economy when Wall Street owns America’s biggest employers – and chooses short-term profits instead of creating jobs for working families.

What happened at Toys R Us? Contrary to popular narratives of pressure from Amazon and changing habits of millennial shoppers, the so-called “retail apocalypse” is a Wall Street-made disaster.  Toys R Us is the third largest bankruptcy in US history, despite $11 billion in profits. In 2005, private equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust bought Toys R Us in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout through which they saddled the toy seller with a reported $5 billion debt. Despite solid profits, Toys R Us had struggled to service this overwhelming debt and, on March 15, announced plans for liquidation. More than 30,000 working people across the country will lose their jobs in the coming weeks.  

Who is hurt by the “retail apocalypse”?  Private equity buyout deals like what happened with KKR and Bain with Toys R Us account for over 130,000 jobs lost in the last 2 years. Women are paying the biggest price, facing the vast majority of this mass job loss. A retail rust belt is emerging in states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where vulnerable communities with embattled economies feel the greatest pain from shuttered storefronts  - losing both jobs and a vital commercial tax base.

Now is the moment where we can come together to support Toys R Us workers in their movement for justice. Stand with Toy R Us families by signing this petition for severance pay, and join us in moving Congress to stop the “retail apocalypse” by holding Wall Street accountable.